Facebook games have the stigma of being
time-and-money pits, promoting
lackluster design with an emphasis on cash shops just to play the basic
game for more than ten minutes. When you think of gaming on Facebook,
one game springs to mind – Farmville.
However, there is more to Facebook gaming than planting crops and
getting different colored cows; in fact, there are actual MMOGs to be
found. I, your intrepid reporter, have plunged into the sordid
underbelly of Facebook to find five MMOGs that are actually worth
playing. After countless hours spent in app hell, I can finally deliver
such a list.
The games listed here allow you a great deal of gameplay without spending any real money and fall into the traditional MMOG style: gathering quests from NPCs, gaining levels, having special abilities, and so on. I must make something absolutely clear. I am not saying that these games are as good as or better than subscription-based MMOGs. Because these are Facebook games, they tend to have simplified crafting, no real character appearance options (besides hairstyle or color), easier combat systems, and streamlined skill options (if they have skill trees at all). These games are designed to be easy to play so players can easily pick them up and entice their friends to join the fray. If you want some mindless action and fun, then you’re looking in the right place.
GodsWar Online: This game features a Greek theme with the player choosing to represent Athens or Sparta. Don’t let the setting fool you as that historical accuracy (or even attempt at historical accuracy) do not even think about making an appearance. The game does a nice job of holding your hand as you learn the ropes. A nice feature is an auto-travel ability where you can click on an NPC or a creature in the quest description and your character will walk to where they are located. From the very beginning, you’ll have pets that can accompany you and help you out with skills of their own. Nothing says “This is Sparta!” like a panda bear with a short sword. The animation is done in the anime style and is cutesy in nature. A key feature is what they call AFK mode where you can have your character automatically attack and cast spells on whatever enemies are around you while you chat with friends or such. If you do it too long, the game will point out that this feature is to allow you time to chat and not to walk away for hours and then it will come out of AFK mode. A thing to remember is that you don’t pick up any loot when you’re in AFK mode.
City of Eternals: Goths rejoice! In this MMOG, you play as a recent convert to the undead. You have risen as a vampire in the city of New Valencia and need to choose which one of the four Vampire Houses you will join. There’s actually a good amount of lore and storylines in this game. While the graphics aren’t cutting edge, everything is suitably moody and, besides, playing as a vampire is always cool. You tend to use only a few combat moves, but you make them more powerful as you level up. My biggest complaint is that you can’t drop potions into your taskbar as that your taskbar only appears when you’re in combat. To drink a health potion, you need to open your inventory and click “consume” on the item in question. The other annoying bit is your guide (Batty) making windows pop-up every time you level in something and you need to close them. Still, this is a solid game.
Pearl Heroes of the Three Kingdoms: This game is similar to GodsWar Online. This game also holds your hand quite well in the beginning. It has auto-travel to NPCs and monsters, which is just as well. There are a lot of portal points linking the small zones together, so it can get confusing travelling around. In Pearl Heroes, you’ll get a mount early on which you’ll use from then on as it enhances your abilities and has skills of its own that can be improved. I felt a little awkward when I realized I was only a few levels higher than my horse. Shouldn’t he get a bigger cut of the loot other than oat and hay? It has cutesy Eastern style graphics, ala console games of the late 1990s. Quest rewards tend to be a choice between four items – one for each class in the game. I do like the fact that you automatically loot the enemy when you kill them.
MilMo: This kid-friendly MMOG comes from the Swedish game company Junebud. Squarely aimed at younger players, this colorful 3D MMOG is kind of addictive. You adventure through a world comprised of different islands fulfilling quests and doing quite a bit of jumping around. There are powerups to be found and cannons to be shot out of to reach inaccessible places. The graphics are reminiscent of cutesy games on the Wii. Another feature is that each player has their own house that they can decorate as they see fit (or can afford) and you can invite other players into your house. You can purchase a VIP status that gives you a discount in the shop and unlocks certain areas. There is no character leveling in MilMo. The emphasis is on exploring and getting new stuff for you to wear or use. Overall, it’s good clean fun. My only complaint is there is quite a bit of lag at times.
Fragoria: The differing feature of this game is its Russian roots. There are elements of Russian folklore in the game that aren’t really spelled out, but are easily picked up like seeing Baba Yaga’s hut. (They just call her a witch in the game.) Like most of the other MMOGs on the list, this game is isometric in layout. The UI is cluttered, but you can move the various elements around to mitigate the clutter. The graphics are pretty good (and non-anime) and there is a wide world to explore that is literally teeming with monsters. Sadly, the quests are cookie-cutter (kill X of something) and combat goes by extremely quickly. It’s definitely number five on the list but head and shoulders above most of the other games I tried out.
While most games that are found on Facebook leave a lot to be desired (suck is a better term), there are some decent games to be found. The five MMOGs that I’ve listed above make for some fine diversionary gaming to help you get your online-monster-killing fix. They offer quite a bit of gameplay and you could spend some serious killing undead on Facebook as opposed to harvesting carrots or feeding cows.